Evacuations lifted as rain douses Walker Fire in northeastern California

California’s biggest wildfire of 2019, the Walker Fire, is near 100 percent containment after favorable weather conditions helped fire crews make great progress fighting the blaze.

The wildfire, burning in Plumas National Forest about 11 miles east of Taylorsville, is now 96 percent contained after charring 54,518 acres, according to a Tuesday morning incident report by the U.S. Forest Service.

All mandatory evacuation orders for the wildfire have been lifted by the Plumas and Lassen county sheriff’s offices. Some local roadways near the fire remain closed, the Forest Service says.

The area saw about an inch of rain as a cold front blew across Northern California on Monday, the Forest Service said.

Though dry weather is predicted for Tuesday, a chance of rain will return to the Walker Fire area Wednesday. About 150 lightning strikes were also observed Monday evening, but did not impact the Walker Fire, according to the Forest Service.

“With the high increase in containment and the threat of escape mitigated, a large number of fire personnel and equipment have started being released from the incident to return to their home units,” the Forest Service said in Tuesday morning’s incident update.

At its peak, more than 2,000 personnel were assigned to the Walker Fire. No injuries have been reported and no structures have been destroyed.

The Walker Fire started the afternoon of Sept. 4 in the Genesee Valley. Its cause remains under investigation.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.